Why I voted on a paper ballot.

January 18, 2009


How I long for the day when I have even a vague sembelance of trust in my own government.


Hey! Everybody! I voted today! Wooo!

October 25, 2008

For the first time ever! I have to say, as depressing as this election has been, I couldn’t help grinning as I was leaving the court house.

So here’s what the process was like for me: after I figured out where I was really supposed to vote, I drove downtown and parked. Then I had to cross the street to the court house. At the street corner, there were a bunch of people with signs, plus a man who was running for mayor. We chatted and since he was a Democrat, I promised to vote for him (and all the other Democrats being endorsed by this corner). Eventually, the “walk” symbol blinked on, and off I skipped to vote, vote, vote!

Except that there was no door in the courthouse. Seriously– I walked right up to the big, lovely facade facing the street, and walked back and forth along the whole front of the building, and it was nothing but windows. Eventually I found a little door, but it said something to the effect of “This Is Not A Door.” As I looked at it, perplexed, a similarly confused couple came along; together we ventured to the back of the building, where we found the proper entrance. I could tell it was the right place because of the metal detector.

Upstairs, there really wasn’t any kind of line. In about 30 seconds, I got waved over to a poll-working-person, who asked for my ID. I was surprised, since I hadn’t realized that ID was required (since so many people don’t have any, it amounts to a poll tax) but, as a Lucky McPrivilege-Pants, I had no problem and handed over the driver’s license.

Then I was asked, “Touchscreen or paper ballot?” I asked for the paper, which is to say, our conversation looked a bit like this:

“Do you want to use the touchscreen, or a paper b–”


It’s probably paranoid, but I just really, really wanted to have a physical record of my vote. The environmentalist in me realizes that it would be better to switch to all-electronic, but the rest of me just can’t accept that. Switch junk mail and bills to email; leave our votes on good, solid paper. The consequences are just so much more dire for voting, it’s important to me that there’s a physical record, and that if something seems funny we can look again at the actual votes cast. With electronic votes, we just have to trust the computers– which isn’t something I’m willing to do with my vote right now.

Anyway, paper ballot: it was bubbling things in, just like high school all over again! I felt silly, like a kid, until I got to the section labeled “FEDERAL” and was presented with Barack Obama’s name. There were a half-dozen other names I didn’t recognize, which was cool, and Cynthia McKinney was there, of course, which was tempting, but ultimately, despite the many ways he continues to disappoint me, and despite how much I would have preferred to vote for someone else– it was a warm, fuzzy feeling filling in that little bubble.

I also voted on a number of local items– for the eradication of outdated language in the constitution; against a measure that would make adoption available only to people in valid marriages; and so on. There were maybe half a dozen. Plus of course the senators and county clerks and so on; straight Dem, basically, except for one position that had only Democrat and Green running– I got in my Green vote there.

When I left, I was feeling so pleased, somehow, so proud. I wasn’t expecting that. I’m pretty cynical about politics; I’m not really convinced my voice will make a difference. But man, it felt good to vote.

Voting is complicated

October 22, 2008

So, I lied earlier; I didn’t get to vote today. Turns out the polling place listed on the website and on my voter registration card doesn’t actually do early voting; I have to go to a different city hall for that. I’ll still manage to vote before I leave for India, but man, am I ever glad I didn’t wait til the last minute to try to figure this stuff out!

I think just about everyplace is doing early voting now, so for the Americans in my audience: I strongly recommend you all get it dealt with as soon as possible. If there are complications, better to find out when there’s still plenty of time to spare! Also, be absolutely sure your ballot says what you want it to say (i.e., Obama! Or McKinney, which is what mine would probably say if I wasn’t in a swing state.) Especially if you’re using electronic voting (especially in W. Virginia), it pays to double-check; there have been some reports of voting machines switching votes to Republican, which is, um, bad.

And for the Canadians in my audience: thanks a lot for voting the Conservatives back in! 😦 Vote better next time, guys.

I’m Too Lazy for my Blog, Too Lazy for my Blog

October 3, 2008

So it’s time for a blogaround!

Voting myths and Registration Deadline over at Jump Off the Bridge. The short version: it’s illegal to campaign too close to a polling station (distance varies by state) and wearing campaign paraphernalia can qualify, but even if you wear an Obama T-shirt to the polls they may NOT deny you your right to vote! Just cover up or remove the campaign gear, and they MUST allow you to vote.

Plans B Damned: The Quest for Emergency Contraception at RH Reality Check. Kind of an upsetting story, but also just about exactly what I expected. It makes me want to do my own experiment, to see how hard it is to get Plan B here in Arkansas, except, of course, that birth control is a shameful, shameful thing to talk about, and I’m not that brave. Who needs to overturn Roe v. Wade? Just keep chipping away at this stuff.

But cheer up, everyone, and check out Sarah Haskins again! Actually, you should bookmark her right now, so you never have to miss another of her videos again. She is my favourite comedian ever. If only the rest of Current was half as funny.

Hey, more funny stuff: At Least We’re Good For a Laugh! at BGKev.com. Oh, oops. This is actually not funny at all. Turns out one of the few things Palin and Biden agreed on last night was the fact that it would be illegan to deny certain rights to those icky gays, but by God, we don’t have to let them use the word marriage! It’s times like these that I feel most defeatist about American politics, but at least BGK sees some hope. If we can get civil unions to exist, then we can challenge them in the Supreme Court, and it’ll probably be good news. But still…if you’re agreeing with the Republicans, you’re not being a very good ally. This is one of the major ways that the Obama campaign continues to disappoint me.

Sarah Palin Debate Flow Chart: basically the only thing I’m going to say about last night’s debate. Besides the thing I just said about gay rights.

A Conversation with the Nuptial-Industrial Complex over at 2 Elle also makes me laugh and makes me wonder what I’ll do when it comes time for my afore-mentioned evil Canadian gay wedding. I’m thinking a Marilyn Monroe-type white dress– it would flatter my figure in all the right ways, and I want my wedding to be more like a party and less like a Formal Ceremony if at all possible. I want to actually be married at the end of it (boo USA!) but other than that I’m not that interested in a traditional wedding.

The Myth of Objectivity over at Echidne of the Snakes got me thinking about my experiences in journalism, and how “objective” is usually anything but. Supporting the status quo is still taking a position; it is promoting a viewpoint; it is not “neutral.”

For some good ol’ FA stuff, I’ve been reading old Shapely Prose posts. Hooray for the Duh Truck! Twice! My favourite bit is a brief anecdote from the second one:

“I just recently met a woman who has fraternal twin boys, one of whom is bigger than the other — and she told me the pediatrician is on her ass about that kid’s weight. Because of course the only logical explanation for that would be that she’s overfeeding one kid but giving the other a normal amount of food. As, you know, mothers of twins are totally wont to do. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?”

I mean, has this doctor never seen children in their natural habitats before? When I was a kid, it was totally unacceptable for my brothers to have a different number of sprinkles than I got, let alone such a fundamentally different diet that they were noticeably heavier. Isn’t that typical behavior for kids, especially for twins? “If they get X, I want to have X too!” It’s just bizarre to assume that the difference is in the input, rather than the body’s response.

Also: Feeling fat may be worse for you than being fat. And it’s in a reputable news source and everything! If only I were brave enough to mail these links to my mum…luckily, though, she can’t make me feel fat. She can make me feel terribly unfit, but that’s because I haven’t exercised regularly since 6th grade and am not strong enough to climb two flights of stairs in a row. (I’m working on it!) So, unhealthy, sure, but unacceptably fat? No way. I am drop-dead sexy, guys. Voluptuous and gorgeous.

Ten posts is enough for a blogaround, right? You’ve all got enough stuff to read now that I can leave, right? You won’t come after me for failing my blogular duties?

Great! Then I’m going to go watch some more Planet Earth. Man, I love the BBC.

Yo, college students!

September 24, 2008

Check out this site to figure out if you should vote in your school’s state, or your home state!

College students can vote in either, as long as they register on time (and the deadlines are approaching!) but this site will compare the margins of victory from the last election and from current polling, to let you know where your vote will have the most effect.

Go pick a state, and register!